quizzes petitioner against puja on premises
Tuesday January 18, 2011 07:58:55 PM,
Gujarat High Court Tuesday questioned a petitioner who has
challenged the performing of Hindu religious rituals and a puja
during a groundbreaking ceremony held in the court premises last
A bench of Justice Jayant Patel and Justice J.C. Upadhayay sought
to know from petitioner Rajesh Solanki as to how the rituals
amounted to exploitation of anyone's religious sentiments.
The bench also sought to know from him if any of the dignitaries
performed a ritual or offered prayers, and it was not so, then how
was it barred by law or the constitution.
The court said that it was a settled principle that law has no
religion. The constitution also provided the freedom to follow any
The bench wanted to know as to how undue advantage accrued to any
particular religion to the discrimination of others through the
performing of the said ritual.
"We think at the ceremony many staff members belonging to the
Muslim community may have been present. Do you think it was
The petitioner, in his reply, apologised if he sounded arrogant
and said: "People don't come forward with their grievance and
don't speak up many times against the authorities. It should not
mean that there is no grievance."
He also sought time to engage a lawyer. The bench allowed him two
days' time and posted the matter for further hearing Jan 20.
Advocate Mukul Sinha showed his willingness to assist the
petitioner as it involved a larger question and the court allowed
the petitioner to make up his mind in that regard.
Solanki in his petition challenged the groundbreaking ceremony
held in the high court premises during the golden jubilee function
held in May 2010.
He said Governor Kamla Beniwal, Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya
and other judges of the court were present at the ceremony where
prayers were performed as per Hindu rituals.
The petitioner also filed a photograph of the governor and the
chief justice taking part in the ritual in the presence of a Hindu
Solanki said in his petition that the state, as defined under
constitution, was required to restrain itself from being
associated with any religious faith. "The pooja (Hindu prayer held
in court premises) makes out that the state is associated with
Hinduism and recognised it as state religion," the petition said.
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